Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre
The Research Centre, Visual Identities in Art and Design (VIAD) is an integral part of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), spanning all of its eight departments. VIAD’s conceptual underpinnings are based upon the thematics of visually embodying identity in art and design practices.
The overarching aim of the Centre is to develop a strong research ethos and culture around the focus of visual identities in representation.
Since 1994, attempts to celebrate South Africa’s transformation from minority to majority rule have given rise to multiple constructions of ‘post-apartheid identities’. Taking its cue from the relevance of transforming and constantly evolving conceptions of South African identities (individual and collective) in the post-1994 democracy, the underpinning thematic of the Centre is intended to identify and address ways in which these identities might be articulated and realised through visual representation. Particular emphasis is placed on research into these post-apartheid, postcolonial, emergent South African cultural identities, which are in constant processes of flux and formation. Research produced under this core thematic explores how these visual identities are negotiated, performed, re-conceptualised and/or re-imagined, focussing on questions of how ‘we’, as ‘post-apartheid’ South Africans, might begin to ‘image ourselves’.
VIAD was established in June 2007 and since then has focused on the following objectives:
- developing FADA as a renowned centre for practice-based research through engagement with issues of image in relation to text within art and design practices.
- developing a body of knowledge in the area of visual identities in art and design through the research of its Research Associates, Post-doctoral Fellows, and Staff Researchers as well as through Post-Graduate research.
The Centre also actively continues and advances existing debates on practice-led research. Through its research forms, it explores the complex relationships between creative practices, particularly those of art and design, and research, in terms of both content and modes of presentation. This mode of practice-led research explores how dialogues between theory and practice, or ‘reflecting’ and ‘making’ might be combined in productive ways. Forms of research produced in the Centre include:
- exhibitions, installations, video screenings, performances
- curatorial practices
- academic textual outputs (edited volumes and special editions of journals, conference proceedings, journal articles)
- individual and collaborative research projects
- collation and dissemination of research through workshops, conferences, seminars, panel-discussions, gallery walkabouts and presentations
- post-graduate degrees in art and design which place practice at the centre of the research process
Post-doctoral Fellowships, as well as positions as Research Associates within the Centre can be applied for.
Director: Leora Farber
University of Johannesburg Research Centre: Visual Identities in Art and Design
Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture
University of Johannesburg
Bunting Road Campus